Saturday, February 28, 2009

February. It's a Wrap

The shortest month of the year has gone bye-bye. It's always a crazy month with Hollywood's High Holy Night in the mix. In case you missed anything, here were my ten favorite posts from the month that was...

Ripley, Hanna and Maggie the Cat lounge at Big Daddy's estate

Movie Art: Aliens ~ I love finding weird internet treasures.
Colette ~ Someone ought to make a biopic of the wondrous author of Chéri
77 Appropriate Ways to Celebrate Elizabeth Taylor's Birthday ~I hope she lives longer than Methusaleh. I love her more than you! Quit slacking. Rent some of her movies.
Amy Adams Interview ~Bless her for answering those Buffy questions.
9th Annual Film Bitch Awards ~the obsessive tradition continues.
Oscar and the Jesus Year ~ 33 year old Oscar winners.
Oscar Symposium ~I love doing this each year. Hope you enjoyed.
Breakfast with Thelma & Louise ~ 'I finally got laid properly!'
Doll House and Dollhouse ~movie dolls and Joss Whedon's return.
There is Nothing Like Two Dames ~Judi Dench and Jude Law (in drag) in Sally Potter's latest

Coming in March: Watchmen, Kristin Scott Thomas, Alice in Wonderland and Phoebe in Wonderland, British Actresses, Swing Time, the return of "Breakfast With..." and "Tuesday Top Ten", Se7en, pots of gold, Hunger and The Hunger, trips to and from Witch Mountain and another round of Actress Psychic.

Reviewing the Reviews

I miss college fairly frequently but not the homework part. That said, if I had Nick of Nick's Flick Picks for an instructor, I'd relish the assignments. I actually requested his syllabus this year so I could play along at home. He's teaching a film criticism history and reviewing course this semester at Northwestern and he's asking blog readers -- that's you -- to comment on the blurbs they wrote. Which of the blurbs they claim are representative of their reviews make you want to rest the rest of their articles? I personally must finish the review of Lady Sings the Blues that compares Billie Holiday to Lindsay Lohan. I must on account of "say what, now?!"

False Advertising Starring Kate Winslet

I only get the newspaper on the weekends, so forgive me if this advertisement to your left has already left smudge prints on your fingertips. Perhaps you're familiar. See, they're now advertising the bleak sexual Holocaust drama The Reader by way of Kate Winslet's huge PG smile and winner's elation.

My memory is like a sieve so maybe this isn't saying much but I can't remember another Oscar winning film replacing their actual ads with Oscar ceremony stills. Furthermore, if you go into this movie expecting "the most uplifting experience of your life" you might be desperately suicidal afterwards (uh, thanks Rex Reed).

I love that the ad is also rubbing right up against He's Just Not That Into You. Winslet looks way happier in her Romantic Comedy (er...) than Jennifer Aniston, Scarlett Johansson and Ginnifer Goodwin do in theirs. But then David Kross and Ralph Fiennes were Very Into Her.

New Podcast: Oscar Night Memories and "Best Consecutive Oscar Runs"

Nathaniel walks to the stage, tears welling in his eyes
Thank you so, so much. Whistle so I can tell where you are dear reader... There you are! Thank you for listening to our informal chatty awardsy podcast all season and especially for commenting so we know we're not talking into the great web void. I couldn't have done this without my beautiful co-stars Joe, Nick and Katey who always believed in me! I also must thank my accoun ---[drowned out by orchestra]
Enough hokey awards show humor. If you aren't already completely Oscared out (you're totally forgiven if you are), join the four musketeers for one last podcast pow-wow about Oscar night. The best option is the iTunes version i.e. the enhanced podcast but you can listen to the simplified mp3 if you don't have an enhanced player.

Topics include but are not limited to:
  • Jessica Biel's napkin and Marisa Tomei's "envelopes"
  • Meryl Streep in the front row, Anne Hathaway singing, Hugh Jackman up on stage
  • Commie Homo Loving Sean Penn
  • Penélope Cruz Obsessions. Spreading like brushfire
  • Why is there no Oscar cable channel?
Somewhere round about the middle of the podcast (60 minutes this time. We had much gushing to do) Nick dropped an intriguing question for listeners/readers. What do you think is the Best Consecutive Run for Acting Oscar winners ever? Nick thinks it might actually be the last four years of Best Actor, great performances all...
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman, Capote
  • Forrest Whitaker, The Last King of Scotland
  • Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood
  • Sean Penn, Milk
Well done, AMPAS. I counter with a five year spread of Best Actresses in the 1960s that I think is unbelievably satisfying. Which consecutive string of winners thrills you most? We want to hear it in the comments.

"I'm crazy about'cha, without'cha..."

For you I'm strong.
I can't do without'cha
Howcha magoucha?
Don't stay too long.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Signatures: Best Actress 2008

Adam of Club Silencio here with another look at my favorite actresses and their distinguishing claims to fame.

For this very special (very slapdash) installment of "Signatures," I'll be taking a look at the "Signature" moments of the five Best Actress nominees and what came of their glorious Oscar night. Just as the nominees were read gracious speeches by other acting legends, I too offer the equally esteemed comments of a nameless blogger.

Kate Winslet

What a win! Time for a victory lap. And since I just discussed Kate's "Signatures," read that fast-paced post instead. I'm pretty sure it was my offer of good spirits and Gatorade that cosmically led to Kate's Oscar win anyhow. And now that scene from Extras rings of even more truth since her Holocaust-drama performance did finally snag the Oscar. Plus, Kate in a habit further rubs in her victory over Meryl's Catholic doubts.

Anne Hathaway

Anne's "Signature" seems to be that of self-abuse. Be it going through hell to get Meryl Streep a copy of Harry Potter, returning from rehab for an angry sister's wedding/counseling/multicultural event, or falling for a man who's, well, falling for a man; Anne doesn't take the easy way out. Lest we forget she also signed on to Bride Wars... Anne's so hard on herself, but sometimes it's just beautiful to behold. She won't take her Oscar loss lightly, but she will take another drink.

Angelina Jolie

Her cinematic life, like her real life, has been plagued by questions of sanity. From her breakthrough stint in a suicide clinic to that time spent with Billy Bob Thornton, Angelina's had to prove herself to the public time and again. Now that a large part of her life has been destroyed by the media, it's easier to see the mellow side of Angelina. Maybe it's just age, but something has given her an extra luminescence in recent years. It probably helps to bask in Brad Pitt for an hour a day.

Melissa Leo

Only familiar to her through work in Frozen River and 21 Grams, one could say Melissa's "Signature" is a reasonable head in a crisis... the crisis often being potential abandonment by her on-screen husbands. There's a strength behind her roles as mothers and support systems, for as much as they flail and flounder, there's a humanity not lost with their bad decisions. So how'd Melissa handle her Oscar loss? I hear she hid Kate's Oscar in a duffel bag, only to leave it behind while crossing state lines.

Meryl Streep

The living legend, the marvellous cultural icon. Singer, violinist, cook, comedienne, dramatist, amateur Brooklyn nun... Meryl's resume is a baffling behemoth, and one best saved for a later installment of "Signatures." But one "Signature" worth discussing is her mastery of accents and dialects. She's done Polish, German, Yiddish, ABBA, and she's about to do Julia Child. Unstoppable is Meryl Streep when it comes to the artistic challenge, and fully inhabiting a character that's foreign to her.

Now Playing: Slumdog Crosses Over and the Jonas Bros Do Whatever It is That They Do

In case you've been tied up with Oscar mania and are ready to go back to the actual movies, there are new ones. Whether or not it's safe to go back (yeah, that time of year) is another issue entirely. Links go to trailers.

<--- E X P A N D I N G
The Reader
nd Slumdog Millionaire are taking their highly publicized Oscar wins to their highest screen counts yet and asking for the public's stamp of approval. Kate Winslet is a Time cover girl and Slumdog is on the cover of EW. How much more money does Slumdog have in it? It recentl cracked 100 million.

This isn't really about the theater counts but I'd love your opinion on what's going on with Entertainment Weekly these days? If you ask me they're phoning it in now that they have almost zero real competition. They skipped both pre-show Oscar covers this year which is, I guess, neither here nor th
ere in a lackadaisical gold man year, but their lists (usually a highlight) are getting lazy. That "best directors" list (which I didn't even post) was several dozen kinds of embarrassing -- hardly worth the discussion it garnered and which it only garnered because they have no real competition at this sort of thing. A recent list of final movie appearances they're pushing, 'inspired by Heath Ledger', is also annoying. The Dark Knight is not Ledger's last film. The EW staff is too smart not to know this and they don't really claim it is... so one assume they're just planning to regurgitate this list again when The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus comes out (see previous post). I'm considering cancelling my subscription. I prefer more human movie coverage anyway. Not some corporate mandate for content content content ... even when it trumps common sense. Or am I just grumpy?

Crossing Over Wayne Kramer (The Cooler, Running Scared) directs Harrison Ford, Ray Liotta, Jim Sturgess and Ashley Judd in this drama about cultures clashing, shady border business and illegal immigrants. Why is it being dumped into theaters? It has big stars and the kind of sledgehammer topic that turns Oscar voters on (see also: Crash, Traffic)
Echelon Conspiracy Greg Marks directs this thriller that sounds a bit like Eagle Eye in the mysterious threatening cell phone communications department. Shane West plays Shia Labeouf (joke. no need to correct me in the comments). With Ed Burns, Ving Rhames and Jonathan Pryce.
Robert Blecker Wants Me Dead A documentary about a capital punishment activist.
The Trouble With Romance an ensemble indie romantic comedy that restricts itself to one floor of a hotel for its action. I've always wondered why more indies didn't build tight stage-friendly locations right into their concept. Saves on budget. With Jordan Belfi, Kip Pardue, David Eigenberg and Sheetal Sheth among many others.

Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li "Based on the Video Game" is such a great selling point right? I'm confident that one day someone will make a great movie based on a video game. I mean, we didn't see Pirates of the Caribbean coming, did we? If a theme park attraction can become a super fun movie (the first one only I hasten to specify), why can't a video game? Not that it will be this one. Kristin Kreuk (Smallville) stars as Chun Li. Apparently she's half Chinese. I did not know...
Jonas Bros a 3D concert movie. Obviously we've moved into another boy band phase in pop culture (sigh). I hope they save their money. Eventually they will be searching for reality TV gigs like N'Sync is now (Justin Timberlake excluded).

My New Paralyzing Fear

This pic of Tilda Swinton (Michael Clayton) and Penélope Cruz at an Oscar after party is my new favorite picture ever. Are they about to reenact the Vicky Cristina Barcelona darkroom moment? The Spaniard definitely has a drink in her and The Alien Goddess is arguably the movie world's most famous polyamory advocate, so...

This photo also reminds us that for two consecutive years the FB Award and the Oscar have honored the same Supporting Actress! Even before my own awards existed in their public form two years running agreement in any category is rare. It's something to celebrate. Which means we're due for something truly disheartening or terrifying in 2009... like another Cold Mountain or A Beautiful Mind sitch. You know the kind: The Supporting Actress Winner is either embarrassingly over the top or harmless / completely bland but either way she's the worst of the five nominees. She sweeps the year's supporting honors anyway.

I must steel myself for something hideous in 2009.

My 2009 Oscar predictions arrive on April 1st but we'll do a little build up to that in late March. I hope you're sticking around. Who are you imagining in the 2009/10 race. Have you thought of it at all? Or perhaps you'd prefer to wait like a more sensible person? I've heard they exist.

77 Appropriate Ways to Celebrate Elizabeth Taylor's Birthday

Be great. Be beautiful. Ride a horse. Get married. Get divorced. Act like a total diva. Wear something spectacularly sexy, preferrably white. Make people want more.

Befriend Michael Jackson. Watch Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? again. Watch National Velvet. Watch A Place in the Sun. Be highly quotable. Get married. Flaunt every piece of jewelry you own. Donate to an AIDS charity. Nurse a sick friend. Get divorced. Show everyone your wicked sense of humor. Fall in love with Montgomery Clift in glorious black and white (any of his movies will do). Ask your best friend to refer to you as "Bessie Mae" for the rest of the day. Get married. Scream "I was the slut of all time!" at the top of your lungs. Survive the loss of someone you loved no matter how hard that is to do. Pretend you've won an Oscar. And another. Drink people under the table. Love dogs. Get married. Polish her star at 6336 Hollywood Blvd. Watch Cleopatra... or at least half of it (okay, maybe a third). Get divorced. Read Elizabeth. Watch the original Father of the Bride. Get married. Get divorced. Get remarried. Get redivorced. Buy a pair of violet contact lenses. Let your passions rule you. Play a game of ping pong.

Don't take yourself too seriously. Role play "Liz and Dickie" with your boyfriend or girlfriend. Get married. Be fabulous. "Tell mama all". Name a perfume after your favorite thing. Gain lots of weight. Watch Giant. Watch Suddenly Last Summer. Watch Reflections in a Golden Eye. Steal something from someone who reminds you of Debbie Reynolds. Descend into "erotic vagrancy"! Give them something to talk about when you leave the room. Photoshop yourself onto the cover of 14 People magazines. Invite people over and play "get the guests" or "hump the hostess", your choice. Watch The Flintstones. Watch Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Watch The Taming of the Shrew. Imagine how Sherilyn Fenn might play you in a TV movie. Study Kabbalah.

Be sexy. Seek a voice role on The Simpsons. Work towards making lots of "all time greatest" lists in whatever it is that you do and actually deserve the honor. Make the world a better place. Get divorced. Go to a gay bar with friends. Jump on a plane to Hawaii. Excite the tabloids. Be legendary. Have a tracheotomy. Survive pneumonia. Have a hip replaced. Have a tumor removed. Survive cancer. Throw your back out. Call yourself "Mother Courage" and mean it. Survive everything.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

"Do You Have 'The Texas Chainsaw Mascara'?"

Link With a Stranger

Empire new character shots from Up (so cute!)
Mike Leigh's Oscar Diary fun stuff. Like this
At one, weird moment, some strange force suddenly convinces you that you're about to win, while you affect to look benign and generous for the camera that's suddenly in your face; then you don't win...
I love him. But I don't think he's ever going to win.
Filmbo's Chick Magnet asks if John Williams is a douche
First look at Zhao Wei as Mulan.

Socialites Life Katie Holmes films a crying scene. They totally neglect to mention that Paul Dano is her screen partner. Try not to get blown off the screen Katie. He held his own with Daniel Day-Lewis for chrissakes. You're toast!
Towleroad Gay Oscar speeches censored in Asia
NYT Great piece on the always thorny / fascinating Rupert Everett. The reporter follows him apartment hunting in NY
“It’s like a place for orgies,” Everett murmured, being led through it. “Thank you very much, it’s very nice, but I don’t think I could really live in it,” he said. Once in the car, he laughed. “Can you imagine having Angela Lansbury back there? I don’t think so.”
I meant to link that over the weekend. Oops
/Film Denzel Washington still from The Book of Eli. Geez how many post-apocalyptic movies are there going to be in the next few years? Hopefully by the time they all arrive we'll all be so optimistic that we can ignore them and chalk them up to a very negative very sad 8 year downward spiral that is OVER.
Defamer on that horrible idea to remake the NeverEnding Story

Robin & Marian Redux

As you may have heard the 39th film version of Robin Hood is in progress. I might be exaggerating on the number but not by much, the point being that there's another one coming about that man who robs from the rich to give to the poor [I can hear the wingnut editorials now "ack! redistribution of wealth! ack!!!" still unable to see that rich people are also into the redistribution of wealth -- no bid contracts, unfair wages, outsourcing -- so long as it's redistributed to them]. Ridley Scott is directing this version, formerly called Nottingham, which means that Russell Crowe is the star. This will mark their 5th movie together. Maybe they're trying to catch up to Tim Burton & Johnny Depp who are hitting lucky #7 with Alice in Wonderland which will be out in 2010, same year as this Robin Hood.

Every generation gets at least one version of the story of
the honorable thief and his fair maiden

It's also no surprise that Cate Blanchett has signed to co-star as Maid Marian -- offers hit her inbox at the rate spam hits yours. That said she seems like a decent choice. But Russell Crowe? Here's how Brian Grazer explains the casting decisions
They are both highly accomplished dramatic actors who are taken seriously playing rich characters in period pieces, but each has the ability to show you fun.
I'll give you the first part but "both" on the second? Blanchett can definitely have fun onscreen (see The Talented Mr Ripley, Indiana Jones, The Aviator, Bandits) even if it's it's usually only a means at getting at the drama but Crowe !? "Fun" is not the word that comes to mind. Ah well, it's a winning ticket at any rate. It's not like they'll even have to try to be able to wipe the floor with Hollywood's last big Robin Hood movie. Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland and their 1938 movie's 4 Oscar nominations won't be quite so easy to take down.

I guess this means that Ridley Scott is no longer making Monopoly the Movie which means we don't get to see who Crowe would have played in that. I had my money on The Banker with a nervous glance sideways at the Battleship.

Oh That I Could "Montage"

If I could borrow a power from the movies it wouldn't be flying or super strength or telekinesis or anything typically "super". It would be a "montage" power wherein I could speed up time and shed all extraneous details of life in order to: learn a complicated new skill that takes years to master, get to know someone intimately with zero effort, money or tears, or get in great physical shape with a bare minimum of sweating. In the movies --especially 80s movies or chick flicks -- you can do these things within two to three minutes as a pop song plays. Accomplishment in real life takes way longer.

Yesterday I went to the gym for the first time in months (I suck) and I worked out for the lengths of several pop songs. Nothing sped up in my life. I look exactly the same. Nothing changed other than that I'm stiff and sore today.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

What's the last movie you saw?

...and which Oscar nominee are you most eager to see when it arrives on DVD?

Oscar and The Jesus Year

I'm really trying to leave the gold man behind but he never unclenches his grip. Have you noticed the arms? Plus he has a sword... so, one has to move slowly away. Tip toe. Tip toe. I advise against sudden movements.

Anyway, for fun I thought I'd dedicate a post to the dozen acting Oscar winners who won when they were 33 years of age. Why? Because it's all about Kate Winslet right now! Here they are...
You know this list makes Mel Gibson seethe with jealousy.

No Best Actor nominee has ever won during his Jesus year. In fact no actor who has ever risked playing Jesus has won an Oscar either before or after that Only Begotten Moment (and that includes actors as acclaimed as Ralph Fiennes, Max von Sydow -- whom I interviewed and asked about the "spiritual thread" in his career, Willem Dafoe and Christian Bale all of whom you'd think would have a statue by now) so maybe it's an Academy curse.

If I am struck by lightning after posting this, I'll try to film it so David Fincher can use it in his next movie.

If your Jesus year is still ahead of you you can use this trivia as a goal post. How will you work towards winning an Oscar by then? Make a plan and get busy! If you're older than 33 try not to feel desperately unaccomplished.

Hump Day Hotties: Don't Hate Them Because They're Beautiful Oscar Winners

Does winning an Oscar make you more beautiful? Or do you already have to be sexy to win? A chicken and egg mystery for you to solve in the comments. Maybe all one needs to be beauteous is the right photographer and airbrushing? (Now it's a chicken / egg / omelette mystery)

Clockwise from left: Kate Winslet in Elle, Dustin Lance Black in Vogue,
Masahiro Motoki in White Room, Sean Penn in tie and Penélope Cruz
in only a bedsheet. Mmmm.

I'm asking because I'm still detoxing from all the collective beauty on Sunday.

And yes, I'm cheating a bit to include Masahiro Motoki who is not an Oscar winner. But he is the star of Oscar winning foreign film Departures and he was on stage next to the Oscar. And he did win the Japanese Best Actor Oscar for the performance. That said he doesn't really need the help of the beauty-by-statue-association, does he? Anyone who poses nude for photography books probably feels beautiful without shiny trophies. [Cinebeats has more Motoki enthusiasm]

Departures [official site] which swept the Japanese Oscars even harder than Slumdog Millionaire swept ours, is about a cellist (Motoki) who becomes an undertaker when he finds himself jobless, opens in the U.S. in May, distributed by Regent Releasing.

Here's the trailer, or "a" trailer at any rate.

recent hump day hotties
Penélope, Kate and Sean have all been featured in previous seasons (2008, 2007 and 2005 respectively)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Did you know that February is...

...National Bird Feeding Month? Well, it is. Feed the birds. Julie Andrews demands it.

Feed those birds. Feed them Tippi Hedren if you must, but feed them. Our winged friends need to consume half their body weight every day. (Ah, another excuse to throw The Birds into the DVD player. )

February is also Black History Month, American Heart Month and Chocolate Lovers Month but somehow I always get so tied up with Oscar that everything else that the shortest month of the year has to offer is forgotten. So here's to chocolate, birds, black history and Oscar winners.

Whoopi and bird

No, I have no idea where I'm going with this... sometimes I just start typing and can't stop. Plus I'm detoxing from Oscar and I never know where I'm going post that.

Do you? If so, help me!

Commie Link-Loving Sons of Guns

/Film Michel Gondry to direct Seth Rogen's Green Hornet
BlogStage an opening date for Spider-Man the musical which is now called Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. Whaaaa?
Bright Lights... on the subtextual Oscar highlights
Dear Jesus experiences those 'commie homo-loving sonofguns' at the Oscars being shown in Mormon homes

Empire Freida Pinto in a Woody Allen movie next. No comment.
Sunset Gun
Who's Afraid of Angelina Jolie?
Roger Ebert also loved the Oscar broadcast ... possibly even more than I did. I'm aware that there's the normal slew of negative reviews out there but I think it's foolish to get hung up on Oscar reviews. The host in particular should NEVER read Oscar reviews. Basically you could copy and paste Oscar night reviews verbatim with only the hosts name changed. The negative reviews are always the same "it was boring. it was long. nobody cares about these movies. it's out of touch. above all the host sucked". It doesn't even matter what actually transpired on the broadcast. These reviews will always exist. They're a time tested tradition right up there with opening the envelopes. It's the nature of the beast.

So I loved the broadcast (my review) and these reviews don't bother me a bit. My efforts to get more positive like Poppy (Happy-Go-Lucky, y'all) must be paying off (slowly). I'm glad there are others like Ebert feeling the love. At the very least you have to give Hugh & team points for effort. They were working their asses off to make that a better show than it has been the past few years. I'm glad the ratings were slightly up.

Finally, if you're a film lover who is leaning towards film making you might want to check out this list by Movie Maker of the best cities for movie makers to live in. Their reasoning sounds complex so I shan't try to summarize but please know that I was surprised to see my city of origin there (Detroit #11) but not at all surprised to see my pre-NYC home in the mix (Salt Lake City #17). So if you're a filmmaker... say yes to Michigan. Michigan needs all the help it can get these days. Everyone is leaving and nobody has work. How that makes it a good city for movie making I don't know but if Movie Maker says it, it must be true.

White Weddings (Oscar Night Review ~ Pt 3 of 3)

It's all over but for the fashion talk...

To those who are ready to move on: Back to regular cinema soon. Stick around.
To those who can never get enough Oscar: I'll wean you away gently until the 2009 contest begins in a month and you know I'll drop the Oscar talk back in when appropriate. Stick around.

In short: Stick around.

This Oscar fashion roundup is dedicated to Billy Idol. For apparently Sunday in LA was a "nice day for white wedding". Remember that year when everyone wore champagne dresses to SAG and how irritating it was that all the actresses looked the same? Does Hollywood's army of stylists have spies in each other's camps or are they operating in strict adherence to pack rules. Perhaps they're a lycan society with an Alpha Dog stylist residing somewhere deep in the Hills, howling at the full moon monthly as it reflects off the Hollywood sign.

What was with all the white?

As far as I know Amy Adams is the only star that's about to get married and she was in red!

Rather than do a whole 'nother permanent page at the mainsite I thought we'd just finish the wrap up here with photos. Some of my bests may be your worsts but that's the way it goes with fashion (and acting, actually, as the annual wars over the Oscar shortlists attest)

I'm ignoring the men this time 'round. I didn't mean to and there were lots of sharp dressed men and one handsome boy who could just as easily have been starring in a Gus Van Sant picture as writing it (Dustin Lance Black) but time is short and I really need to put this year's Oscars in the rearview mirror.

I'm not quite sure about this...
Actually all of these goddesses look beauteous. But we're not talking A+ Oscar wear. The Doubt actresses (Amy Adams, Meryl Streep, Viola Davis) look better as a trio, all earth and fire and well matched. Probably the point... great for photo ops. But apart from each other the outfits were a little busy (Amy... but I actually love the huge necklace) plain (Meryl) or risky (Viola). Perhaps I should explain: I love the gold dress and the woman inside it but unless you're a lock to win, I always think that color is asking for trouble. That statue looms large you know.

It was nice to see Bridget Fonda and Phoebe Cates dolled up again but something is missing in both cases...and not just their careers (har dee har har)

What are you wearing?

Beyoncé's a little teapot, short and stout. Why is she always there? You don't see Amy Adams at the Grammy's every year? Robin Swicord's color choices and pattern (!) are disturbing me... even more than her screenwriting for Memoirs of a Geisha and Benjamin Button did. Heidi Klum usually makes best dressed lists but there was something atrociously busy about this number. Nice color on her (which color isn't?) but all the cut outs and sharp angles and then all the bangles. Any of the elements are okay on their own but all together?, Miley Cyrus has been at the Oscars two years in a row and... I... I... don't understand. Or I don't want to understand. And we'll wrap up with Mary Hart. She never leaves the house without a frozen smile. Even if she forgot to buy a new dress or iron an old one to go with it.


My choices for best dressed are the always ravishing Nicole Kidman (love the feather and shiny details which rescue this from being another boring white dress, Freida Pinto (Latikaaaaaa!) in blue and that sleeve is a beauty, Leslie Mann because her dress reminds me of a disco ball and I've been totally on a 70s kick (I blame Milk) and there's something about her whole look, hair, attitude and all that screams decadent/sexy/underestimated woman. Amanda Seyfried continues to be awesome, despite Mamma Mia! And finally there's my girlfriend Marisa Tomei. I have nothing to say about the dress but to tell you that Nick describes it perfectly on the upcoming podcast. From the back it's even more deconstruct as if the strap was barely hanging on to itself to keep the entire dress together.

Which fashions did you go gaga for at home?

Join Our Club! (Oscar Night in Review ~ Pt 2 of 3)

Of all the conversations I've had offline regarding Sunday's Oscars the most popular topic was always the acting category intros. The biggest change this year at the Kodak was the use of five previous winners to hand out each acting statue, rather than the opposite sex correlative trade off (last year's best actor presenting the new best actress, etcetera). Most Oscar ceremony decisions in past years seem to have sprung from the producers annual anxiety about the excessive length of the show but this format switch actually lengthened the acting segments. This might not be a bad decision strategically since many viewers are presumably watching the show specifically for the glamour of the stars.

The Acting Presentations:
Sophia Loren for Meryl Streep, Shirley Maclaine for Anne
Hathaway, Marion Cotillard for Kate Winslet, Nicole
Kidman for Angelina Jolie, Halle Berry for Melissa Leo
Probability of famegasms very high

This glittery doubled quintet approach (presenters to nominees) was a little overwhelming star-power wise. Overwhelming in a delicious way. Short cascading montages showed the wins of five actors and huge panels rose to reveal those same winners who then marched forward in unison toward a inner circle stage where they would choose a new member of their sorority or fraternity.

Read the rest ...
Return and comment. Did you like this format? Which nominee/winner pairing thrilled you most? We'll wrap up with the fashions this afternoon. Come back

Monday, February 23, 2009

Let's Put on a Show (Oscar Night Review -Pt 1 of 3)

What's that line from The Age of Innocence? Something about that the audience
wants to get away from amusement even more quickly than they want to get to it.
Excuse me If I've stolen it before. But isn't that the way many of us feel after the Best Picture prize has been handed out. It's like [pantomimes wiping hands] 'That's that! Done. On to next year"

Hugh's opening number. A faux shoestring charm offensive

But I do want to say a few things about what turned out to be a surprisingly fun wrap to the lengthy awards season. This particular season was at turns satisfying (mostly on the acting / awards show side) and unimaginatively monotonous (The world was Slumdogging it from Toronto onwards). I squawked earlier on these pages about the continual leaks that they were going to be messing with the Oscar format. I worried that they didn't care enough about Oscar's true fans, the millions who still tune in every year eager to see favorite annual traditions reenacted. Who wants Christmas without a tree or Thanksgiving without the turkey? If Oscar is your favorite holiday (it's mine. Duh) you want the traditions.

Read the Rest...
Parts 2 (acting presentations) & 3 (fashions) coming tomorrow

And I-I-I-I-I-I Have Always Loved Them

Amuse us by adding a caption or dialogue to this photo in the comments.

[photo source - thanks Victor]

Every Day I Love Her More

One of TFE's long time readers Amir once sent me an email tip about an Anne Hathaway appearance. He said "I know she's in your second circle corps right now" which made me laugh heartily. I'd never labelled it but it was totally true. Second Circle Corps. I love it.

My love for Ms. Hathaway just keeps on growing. I'd heard that she had some musical theater training but it was such a delight to see her use it in that Frost/Nixon musical number with Hugh Jackman. She started with feigned embarrassment, glided right into good humored 'I'll play along' talk/sing until she finally caved with great humor into hammy Broadway belting. I just watched it again. I will watch it many times. Love Love Love.

Who is going to put her into a musical? Step up Hollywood.


Oscar Did You Knows?

a few pieces of useless trivia for you!

...that in the elite community of actors who've won more than one Oscar, all thirty-eight of them with Sean Penn as the newest club member, the average wait for the second statue is 9 years. Kate Winslet for the win in 2017, baby! Of course, for some actors the love affair with the Academy is intense and feverish and the statues are back to back (Tom Hanks, Luise Rainer, Jason Robards, Spencer Tracy) as if the voting body wanted to seal the deal before they started showing... if you know what I mean. The most common wait time though is strangely but a 3 year span. That's happened to five goddesses of the silver screen (Glenda Jackson, Jodie Foster, Meryl Streep, Bette Davis and Olivia DeHavilland).

Only four actors have won three or more Oscars (Katharine Hepburn, Walter Brennan, Jack Nicholson, and Ingrid Bergman) and though most sentient beings expect Meryl Streep to become the fifth to achieve that rare honor, she'll set another record when she does. The longest wait after the second Oscar for that third -- well, besides eternity -- was Ingrid Bergman's 18 year delay. It's been 26 years since Streep's second win so she's already shown more patience than Bergman had to.

Penn's second win also makes him the fourth straight man to win the Lead Oscar for playing a gay man. He follows William Hurt in Kiss of the Spiderwoman (1985), Tom Hanks in Philadelphia (1993) and Philip Seymour Hoffman in Capote (2005) to that distinction. Now if they'd only give the Oscar to a gay actor playing a gay man for once. Sir Ian McKellen's loss for Gods and Monsters still stings. Especially since it's better than any of those performances.

[cue music] Onesies beats twosies but nothing beats three [/music]

Cuteness alert: Kate, Sean and Penélope reenact the Vicky
Cristina Barcelona
menage a trois with their gold men.

I haven't double checked this statistic (where would one check it?) but I believe that Penélope Cruz is now only the second actress to win an Oscar for a film in which she engages in threesome loving -- the first being Liza Minelli in Cabaret (well, depending on how you interpret the events of Cabaret). Unless I'm forgetting someone. Which I might be.

These random pieces of trivia are brought to you by a ferocious hangover sponsored by Absolut Vodka. I shall try to collect myself for further Oscar post-show business.

Celebrity Endorsement

The Film Experience...

Marie Antoinette & Louis XVI getting their daily fix in 177o.

...thrilling royalty and peasants alike since the 18th century!

Don't miss a day in 2009. There's more to film than Oscars ...though we still have a couple of post-show articles to wrap up (later today. Am very tired), so stick around.

Oscars (The Show is Over)

Wooo. I'm going to bed. The party was so fun. Loved the show. Am drunk.

Best Supporting Actor Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
Best Score and Song Slumdog Millionaire
Best Director Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire
Best Actor
Sean Penn, Milk
Best Actress Kate Winslet, The Reader
Best Picture Slumdog Millionaire

Did very well on my predictions. Only missed Sound Editing, Actor, Foreign Film and Doc Short. Predicted 20/24 and the only one I was way off on were the latter two since I didn't have the eventual winner as my alternate. Here's all the wins

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Oscars (More)

Will Smith passing out more awards
Best Editing
Chris Dickens Slumdog Millionaire
Best Sound Mixing Slumdog Millionaire
Best Documentary Man on Wire

and the first awards to spoil my 100% prediction record tonight
Best Documentary Short Smile Pinki
Best Sound Editing The Dark Knight

Jean Hersholt to Jerry Lewis

Oscars (So Far)

Isn't this Joaquin Phoenix joke already past its expiration date?

Awards so far (I'm at 100% at my predictions. Oh My God)

Best Short Film Toyland
Best Costume Design The Duchess
Best Art Direction Benjamin Button
Best Cinematography Anthony Dod Mantle Slumdog Millionaire

Overheard at my party "There is a long tradition of terrible musical numbers at the Oscars and you damn well better respect it!"


Viola Davis is wearing gold. I think she thinks she's going to win. Maybe she is. And I'm suddenly positive that Sean Penn is going to take his second trophy. Wish I had predicted it.

My house is packed with people. Eek. They've collectively figured out the Oscar fashions: All the actresses (everyone in white white white) think they're marrying Jay Manuel. Ewww. The images that conjures. I'm very afraid.

9:02 PM LOVING THE SHOW SO FAR. Seriously.

Prizes announced thus far

Suppporting Actresss: Penélope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Original Screenplay: Dustin Lance Black, Milk
Adapted Screenplay: Simon Beaufoy, Slumdog Millionaire